Pride in our NHS: We recognise some of the amazing Sheffield staff ahead of International Nurses' Day

Their nursing backgrounds are very different but they all have thing in common - caring for the people of Sheffield.

Thursday, 11th May 2017, 4:15 pm
Updated Friday, 12th May 2017, 12:03 pm

To mark tomorrow’s International Nurses’ Day, The Star has heard from five of the thousands nurses employed by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust about the motivation behind their work.

The day, held on May 12 every year, is celebrated around the world and marks Florence Nightingale's birthday.

But the profession has changed beyond recognition with new roles and innovations springing up all the time.

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Sally Conlan - Advanced Nurse Practitioner

The NHS is in Sally Conlan's blood. Her dad was a paramedic and her mum was a nursing auxillary.

She originally came into nursing after working as a clinical support worker part-time whilst studying for a literature degree.

For many years she has worked staff nurse on an Acute Medical Unit (AMU) department and was drawn into caring for the acutely unwell patients and the different diseases and conditions they have.

She now works within the Hospital Out of Hours team as an Advanced Nurse Practitioner who cover a large part of the in- patient areas at the Northern General Hospital, Royal Hallamshire Hospital and Weston Park Hospital.

Advanced Nurse Practitioners are qualified to assess, diagnose and treat patients and we work closely alongside medical colleagues to provide an out of hours’ service.

She said: "Nursing patients when they are acutely unwell is very challenging but extremely rewarding. It is a privilege to care for patients that need the NHS service.

"Advanced practice has been established quite recently in the history of nursing. It has allowed nurses to become competent in areas that were previously only for other professions within the NHS. As we look to the future it’s clear that advanced nursing will expand even further."

Anna Wilson - Emergency Department Research Sister

Anna Wilson threw herself in at the deep end when she started out her career in the NHS. Working in A&E at the Northern General, it's fair to say the hardy nurse has seen it all.

Working in the department for nine years, she's also seen first-hand just how the job has changed from new roles to ever expanding treatments. It's in these changes that interested her to take up her latest role.

Two years ago, an opportunity came up to apply for a secondment to join a research team working in the emergency department. Now she works solely as a Research Sister, alongside her colleague Sarah.

She said: "We help to run a portfolio of four studies, including two drug studies within the department, giving patients the chance to take part in research at the ‘front door’ of their hospital journey.

"The role is varied and challenging. As well as aiming to recruit to studies in a high-pressured environment, we also follow up patients at set time points and ensure that all the paperwork is completed to a high standard.

"Research nurses still care for patients and use the recognised nursing process. We guide and support patients to make their own choices about research participation by giving them the appropriate information. It is very rewarding to be able to spend time with patients and give them the opportunity to be involved in research, and to know that the work we are doing now will potentially positively change how patients are treated in the future."

Gemma Culverwell - Arthroplasty and Trauma Theatre Nurse

Gemma Culverwell went into nursing aged 19 after previously training as a nursery nurse. She realised it wasn't for her.

Her nan is her biggest supporter and is proud as punch knowing her grandaughter has forged a career in the NHS working as a theatre nurse.

No day is the same for Gemma and she said nursing is the 'best profession in the world'.

"Becoming a theatre nurse is the best thing that could have happened to me," she said.

"Where else are you in the uniquely privileged position to provide your patients with the undivided attention of a whole theatre team, from support workers to consultants, all supporting each other to provide the patient with optimum care?

"Each day has set routine, but there is a lot of variety within that. You could be working as a scrub nurse, circulating nurse and escort nurse all within one day. Everything revolves around the patients and providing them with excellent nursing care, from those needing a minor procedure to those requiring emergency care.

"To me, it’s the best profession in the world – we get to come to work and make a real difference to patients’ lives.

"My nan is my biggest fan and after I graduated she would tell anyone who would listen ‘our Gemma is a nurse, a qualified one.’ I used to love this and ten years later, it still makes me smile. I love my job and I love being able to provide patients with the best possible care."

Christina Herbert, Lead Nurse Safeguarding Adults

Christina always wanted to work in the NHS despite coming from a family of teachers.

But after Christina entered the world of heath care, she was later joined by her sister and other members of her family.

She said: "Providing patients with the best possible care, compassion and attention when they are at their most vulnerable is something that makes the job worthwhile no matter what the outcome of their illness might be.

In my current role as Lead Nurse for Safeguarding Adults, I offer advice and support to staff and managers to help keep vulnerable individuals safe from all forms of abuse and neglect.

"I am proud to be a nurse and to represent the nursing profession. There have been challenges along the way, but my commitment to my patients and to upholding the 6 Cs (care, compassion, competence, communication, courage, commitment) core nursing values that represent what nursing is about has never wavered."

Deanne Driscoll, Innovation and Technology Nurse

Deanne had plans to follow her dad into the RAF but 'life happened' and she decided to stay in Yorkshire and applied to train as a nurse.

She said she didn't see herself as the academic type but thought nursing would be her best option to really make a difference. She was the first one in her family to got to university.

Deanne has been a nurse for 24 years, experiencing the roles of staff nurses, sister, matron, deputy nurse director and is now holds a corporate role.

She said: "In my current role I work as Innovation and Technology Lead Nurse. This is a role with a very broad remit. I work closely with Informatics and nurse directors to provide specialised advice and leadership for the Trust.

"The post is such an exciting and rewarding job as it’s a real opportunity to make a difference and shape the future of how we care for our patients through the use of technology.

"My aim is to make working lives for nurses easier and more efficient. I work with some great people and we aspire to making Sheffield Teaching Hospitals one of the top performing hospitals in terms of how we use technology to improve patient care, enable nurses to spend more time with patients and their relatives and in turn aid and improve communication."